Sukka 29a-b - Make your sukka your home

March 04, 2014



The Mishnah (28b) taught the general principle that during the week of Sukkot a person should make his house his temporary dwelling (ara'i) and his sukka his permanent dwelling (keva). Thus, a person's beautiful utensils should be brought into the sukka and his normal eating, drinking and daily activities should take place there.
Nevertheless, not everything is appropriate in the sukka. Rava rules that the place for drinking utensils is in the sukka, but eating utensils should remain in the house.
Similarly, a lamp can only be left in a large sukka; if the sukka is small then the candle should remain in the house.
The Rosh and the Me'iri explain that the problem with eating utensils is that when they become dirty they are inappropriate for the sukka, so they must be removed immediately. Tosafot and the Ritva argue that the reference is not to plates as much as it is to pots and pans, whose place is in the kitchen and not on the table. Others suggest that the difference between eating utensils and drinking utensils is that there are set times for meals, so those are the only times that eating utensils belong in the sukka. Drinking takes place all of the time, so cups and glasses always belong in the sukka.

With regard to the lamp, the most obvious explanation of the Gemara is that in a small sukka we are afraid that a fire might break out, which is the approach suggested by Tosafot and the Rosh. Alternatively, as explained by the Ritva and the Mei'ri, the need to stay a distance away from the fire effectively takes away from the size of the sukka, so it cannot be placed in a sukka which is the minimum size to begin with. Rashi offers an alternative approach – that we are talking about a clay candle holder, and that even if the candle is no longer burning, it should not be left in a sukka, since it is considered ugly and disgusting – like the dirty dishes that must immediately be removed.


This essay is based upon the insights and chidushim of Rabbi Steinsaltz, as published in the English version of the Koren Talmud Bavli with Commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, and edited and adapted by Rabbi Shalom Berger. To learn more about the Steinsaltz Daf Yomi initiative, click here.

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